One of the ideas that sadly never came to pass for The CW’s “Crisis on Infinite Earths” involved Nicolas Cage appearing as Superman. Executive producer Marc Guggenheim even approached Cage, a lifelong Man of Steel fan, to show up in the special as his character from the canceled Tim Burton movie Superman Lives. Like a planned cameo from Michael Keaton as Batman though, this idea didn’t pan out, but that hasn’t stopped a fan from imagining what Cage’s Kal-El might have looked like.
As shown in the below image by Instagram user britedit, a current-era Cage is seen as Superman in a costume that partly references the screen test of the actor from the 1990s. The hero appears to be in the Fortress of Solitude as well, with what may be the younger version of the same character in the background. It’s not the best piece of fan art ever, to be honest, in terms of matching Cage’s head with the body, but it’s still a nice gesture towards what might have been.
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For those not in the know, Superman Lives was planned as a Tim Burton project during the 1990s, with the aim of building on the box office success of Batman and Batman Returns. The screenplay was loosely based on “The Death of Superman” comics arc and would have featured Brainiac, Lex Luthor and Doomsday as villains. Kevin Smith later put in a draft as well, which had to factor in producer Jon Peters’ demand for Superman to fight a giant spider in the third act.
Superman Lives sadly couldn’t get out of development hell, although we were later rewarded with wardrobe test images of Cage, including with a long-haired wig. The actor eventually voiced Superman for Teen Titans! Go to the Movies as well, but is now unlikely to appear as the onscreen character, even with the recent possibility of Superman Elseworlds stories being produced for HBO Max. We’re disappointed, then, that Cage couldn’t get involved in “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” although we did get plenty of excellent cameos throughout the special event regardless.